Your Guide to Organic, Biodynamic and Natural Wine


Dessert Wines for Thanksgiving

So you’ve ordered the bird and mapped out your side dishes, told your daughter her boyfriend can bring the bottle of Pinot Noir. You’ve also delegated the dinner rolls, cranberry sauce and backup wine to friends and family, but are you ready for Thanksgiving?

While the main course, with its trademark hunk of meat, is a highlight for many, another important part of Thanksgiving is the dessert course. Though pumpkin, apple and pecan pie are some of the standard, dessert can be a great place to branch out a little. This year, why not try introducing a dessert wine or two to your holiday table?

Dessert wines may be served with or instead of dessert. As a rule of thumb, the wine should be sweeter than the dessert it’s paired with. You also want to take into account acidity and intensity of the wine.

A few popular varieties include:

  • Muscat (sometimes called Moscato, not to be confused with muscadet, a dry white) is a sweet, fruity wine that has hints of peach and melon. It pairs very well with cheese. Try it with creamy desserts like cheesecake.

  • Sauternes is a white dessert wine from the French district for which it is named. It is best enjoyed with light desserts but not chocolate. Domestic varieties called Sauterne may be purchased but are thought to be lower in quality.

  • Vintage Port is a natural choice with chocolate dessert, dark chocolate truffles.

  • Tokaji Aszú is a dessert wine from Hungary, made from moldy or shriveled grapes, which are especially sweet. This wine would be perfect with a tart fruit dessert (like apple pie) or with anything caramelized.

  • Vin Santo is an amber-color Italian dessert wine that is traditionally paired with biscotti.

Joey Replice, the Beverage Director of NYC’s Pure Food & Wine is planning to serve Recioto Della Valpollicella Trabucchi 2005. Recioto, which is made from the same grape as Amarone, another Italian wine—75% Corvina and corvinone, 10% Rondinella, 15% Negrara, Dindarella, Oseleta—is a dark purple color—almost pitch black—with aromas of violets, iris, and morello cherries. This wine unfolds gradually, with notes of balsamic followed by fine floral hints, as well as aromas of cherry liquor and tobacco. The texture is silky, with balanced acidity and bright tannins. It has a long, elegant and intense finish.